Growing and harvesting Runner beans
Recently I had a glut of runner beans harvest in my garden. I put down the seeds on the raised bed over the end of summer. Now it’s October a huge harvest. on can start sowing them under covers from March. Once the risk of frost plant them out.
Compare to other (borlotti, blue sweet, dwarf purple) peas and beans, runner beans has been the easiest to grow.
They are relatively disease free as well. All it needs a sunny spot, well drain soil, weed free and somewhere to climb on. Do water the runner beans plant regularly especially in the summer once the plants start to produce flowers and pods. As dry spells can cause the flowers to die back and developing pods that may wither.
The runner beans have been climbing on the dahlia and tomato (on frames) plants for support.
The runner bean flowers are very pretty and looks good in photos.
The beans are ready for harvesting when the beans are about 15cm (6 inches) long. another tip is to pick the beans before the pods start to swell, or they will lose their tenderness and become tough and stringy. Keep picking the beans regularly sometimes as much as every day so as the encourage production. Otherwise the beans will quickly turn into seed and stop cropping.
As the runner beans produce lots of beans, one of the way to enjoy them longer is to preserve into chutney or pickles. One can still enjoy the runner beans in the winter months to come. They are good in stir fries with leafy greens and carrots. They just as good as boiled and as a side dish to roast meat. Or maybe with a bit of kimchi (I love spicy pickles) at the side.